Webster Veterinary Supplies buys Columbus Serum
Webster Veterinary Supplies, a division of Patterson Companies Inc., announced its acquisition of supply manufacturer Columbus Serum Company, according to Business First of Columbus (Ohio)
With revenue of approximately $166 million in 2007, Columbus Serum significantly adds to Webster Veterinary Supplies’ portfolio and market position. Columbus-based Columbus Serum manufactures a wide range of professional veterinary supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Columbus Serum marks a significant step forward in the growth and value-added development of our Webster Veterinary business…” James Wiltz, president of Patterson Companies, said in a statement. “Webster represents our platform for establishing the leading position in the nation’s companion-pet veterinary supply market.”
Webster Veterinary Supplies is headquartered in Sterling, Mass., and is the country’s second largest distributor of supplies, software, diagnostic products, vaccines and other pharmaceuticals to clinics specializing in companion-pet care. The company is a subsidiary of Patterson Companies, which is also home to Patterson Dental and Patterson Medical.
R. Stephen Armstrong, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Columbus Serum
Armstrong said that for the first two months after the deal’s close, it will be primarily “business as usual” at Webster Veterinary Supplies.
“There will be a lot of assessments to find synergies, there will be some territory realignments,” he said. “In the longer term, we’ll start looking at ways to expand revenue and services to our customers.”
Armstrong said that eventually Columbus Serum’s operations will join Webster Veterinary Supplies’, and the Columbus Serum brand name will no longer be used. He estimated the rebranding process to develop over the next six months.
He said that Columbus Serums’ leaders, Bob and Bruce Peterson – president and senior vice president, respectively – will continue on with Webster Veterinary Supplies, retaining all of their current management responsibilities.
“Bob will continue to managed the former Columbus Serum market area, which includes the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois, and Bruce will work on a national accounts basis for Patterson, so he’ll be working with both Columbus Serum and Webster customers,” Armstrong said.
He said that Webster Veterinary Supplies sells to veterinarians and pet health care professionals and is primarily done through its direct sales team. The company does not sell to consumers or retailers.
Armstrong said the company also does some print catalogs and mailings to supplement its one-to-one sales approach.
“I think with Bruce moving into a national accounts role, which we wanted to invest in previously, he should be able to better leverage our marketing,” he said.
According to Armstrong, Webster Veterinary Supplies handles all of its creative needs in-house, and said that at this point in time, it intends to keep things in-house.
Webster Veterinary Supplies may be a viable long-term prospect for agencies with specific B-to-B marketing abilities. Our source said that the company’s marketing mix isn’t extremely varied right now, but trade show opportunities or other strategies may be a good proposal later in the year or early next year, as the transition is complete.